My buddy Kevin already reviewed this one around the time it came out but I thought it deserved a second round…
The initial rumor was that this documentary (I’m not sure if it is a documentary though) was about Banksy or by Banksy (the infamous street artist known for his great work and his great ability to hide his identity). But neither assumption is accurate, Exit Through the Gift Shop is something else. It’s more about what started as a man’s obsession with the discovery of his video camera which later evolved into a full-on realization of the artist he wanted to be.
Banksy’s involvement comes in when the original shooter of the project, Thierry Guetta (also known as Mr. Brainwash) manages to finally track Banksy down during the course of the examination of various street artists. The way this became a Banksy project is that Thierry was great a shooting everything he came across but turned out to be not-so-good at editing and storytellying.
The evolution of Thierry as an artist is inspired by Banksy as well when he lays down a challenge for Thierry to do a small show as a street artist that ends up becoming this full-blown movement with a new character called Mr. Brainwash and his major art debut. Strangely, this whole thing works somehow even though Thierry’s art may or may not be really “art”; either way it’s going to be something that will inspire some debate.
Still, this film is super-entertaining and educational. Banksky’s influence here is what saved this from just being a bunch of footage some guy shot. The editing is well done as is the formulation and transformation of the project and it’s direction.
Highly recommend this!
reviewed by Sean McKnight